January 29, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Julia Lentils, Week 2

Julia's plastic waste

Name: Julia Lentils

Week: 2

Personal Info:

I collected the plastic trash for our whole family, my boyfriend Greg, me, and our daughter Olive, as I kinda of felt most of our plastic belonged to all of us.
I stay at home, and he rides his bike for work as a courier. Olive is one year old.

[See Julia's Week 1 Challenge Post.]

{I put all of our items under non-recyclable, because I am a bit lacking in free time at this moment}

Total items: 23

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable

Items: Nonrecyclable
1. 3x milk cartons (2x plastic caps)
2. 2x black diamond cheese wrapper
3. 2x chili sauce packet
4. 3x candy wrapper
5. a plastic lined lid to glass juice bottle
6. broken plastic snow globe ornament
7. cracker wrapper
8. plastic sheet from inside drill bit case I bought this week
9. Nature Valley granola wrapper
10. 2x envelope windows
11. wrapping from shoe insoles
12. chocolate Santa wrapper
13. bread bag tab
14. bio-vert dish detergent bottle ( I am actually going to bring this to the NDG bulk store because they take them for people to use when they buy bulk detergent, same goes for laundry soap bottles)
15. planters almonds (its been in our cupboard for ages, I buy nuts in cloth bags at the bulk store now)
16. Plastic window from a kleenex box ( I dont even buy kleenex! What a wasteful idea, I’ve got sleeves)

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
-kleenex, which I really just use a cloth hanky or my sleeve, this is one of those frustrating things my mother brings over, that I hold up shaking to her and say “what do I need this for!?”
-granola bar, cracker, single serving chili sauce, almonds, chocolate, all of these things I can buy at the bulk store, or in the case of chili sauce at least not single serving sized, or I can make these things at home.
-dish detergent, I’m not quite sure what I am going to do yet for detergent, but as I mentioned one of the bulk stores I buy at has refill stations so, I will be doing that if nothing else.
– envelope windows, not all of them are replacable, but I already have switched to online billing with my credit card and electricity bills, so I am slowly solving that as I get them

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
-I wanna say candy, but its really really hard. Like addiction level hard. I do try and buy chocolate wrapped in foil and paper, but I don’t always succeed. The thought is with me though, and I’m making strides. Its not just a plastic problem, its a candy fiend problem.
-chili sauce

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
– Milk, there is no glass bottled milk where I am from
– Cheese (unless I begin making it, which may be too overwhelming)

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
– better preparation for chocolate cravings
– more home cooking

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
-chili sauce and kleenex

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I think I’m doing pretty good, most of the plastic waste I see coming into my house lately is necessary item like cheese and milk, and those damned envelope windows. A lot of things in my tally are from before I was aware of my plastic waste. Things slowly being used up.

3 comments
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)

Hi Julia,

I think you're doing great! I totally, TOTALLY understand where you're coming from on the candy thing. A number of years ago I had to give up all processed sugar in order to keep my headaches under control. The thing is, sugar IS a physical addiction, it's not just in your head. I found that the only thing that worked for me was going cold turkey. And by cold turkey, I mean no substitutes either. If I let myself have some sort of Atkins bar or whatever, it just fueled the fire. I remember having dreams about eating chocolate... I'd be eating it and it would be soooo delicious, and then suddenly I'd remember that I wasn't supposed to eat chocolate and I'd be like "Oh NOOOO". But at one point I actually realized that I was dreaming and then I allowed myself to thoroughly enjoy it! That totally rocked!

Anyhow, all lucid dreaming aside, I feel your pain. I'm not completely sugar free anymore, but I can still only have very small amounts, and only very rarely. I have to be really careful lest I slip back into my addiction and headaches!

Good Luck. I'm pullin' for you!

Julia
Julia

I hear the overwhelm in my post as well, but its not the challenge that's doing it. Its kind of been months of realization that's overwhelmed me. I wonder if you felt that too at first. I am very proud at how far I have come, and how easy some of it really is, but there have been some items (like milk) that frustrate me so much, because I see no possibility for change. I'm also overwhelmed by how hard it is to get other people to realise I dont want them to give me things that are in plastic or made from it. I didn't know how much of my waste wasn't even coming out of my own choices, until this challenge.

{to be clear about the milk, I know that most people can get it in glass, but I have searched hi and low, and I am pretty sure that it might not be allowed to be sold in glass where I am from. We have a pretty strict dairy industry in Quebec. But I am not 100% positive yet, still looking into it.}

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Julia. I hear the overwhelm in your post, and the last thing I want you to do is try and make all your changes at once. Just find one alternative each week.

For dishes, I actually just wash them with baking soda. Really. I also saw a dish washing bar on Etsy.com:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/66393727/dish-soap-bar-package-medium

I haven't tried it, but I plan to get a sample to review.

My addiction is the dark chocolate covered almonds from the bulk bin. At least there's no packaging.

It seems like your plastic will decrease significantly after you use up the stuff you already have.